A Hamas security delegation arrived in Cairo on Saturday and is expected to meet with Egyptian officials in order to discuss matters of security. According to reports, one of the issues to be discussed is the three missing Israelis and the two bodies of Israeli soldiers, who were killed during Operation Protective Edge.
The delegation entered Egypt through Gaza’s Rafah crossing and is set to meet officials as a follow-up to meetings held by Hamas’ Deputy Political Bureau Chief, Ismail Haniyeh, which took place about a week and a half ago.
Egyptian sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper that the Egyptian side has asked the delegation to open the discussion on the missing Israelis being held in Gaza. The sources say that it is possible the Egyptian request was done following an Israeli appeal.
In July 2015, it was cleared for publication that Abera Mengistu, a 29-year-old from Ashkelon, was being held captive in Gaza after having crossed the border in September 2014. Three months after Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed crossed the border into the Strip as well, a Bedouin resident of the south, with a known mental disability.
In last July, another Israeli citizen crossed the border, Jumaa Ibrahim Abu-Ghanima from Hashem Zana, a Bedouin village.
The bodies of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed during Operation Protective Edge, are held in Gaza as well.
According to reports, the Hamas delegation to Egypt also included Marwan Issa, the leader of Hamas’ military wing. The sides are also expected to discuss Egypt’s attempts to increase the pressure on the ISIS branch in Sinai, which operates near the Gaza border, and has been enjoying the support of Hamas’ military wing in recent years.
On other matters, they are set to discuss the reinforcement of Hamas’ deployment in the vicinity of the Egyptian border.
Cairo has started relieving the pressure on the Gaza Strip by opening the Rafah crossing on a more regular basis, allowing the passage of a greater number of people from Gaza to Egypt, as well as the entrance of merchandise, construction materials and cars.